LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. (PIX11) – It was New Jersey’s turn to come out to vote in its Primary Election Day on Tuesday, and experts said this election cycle is turning out to be pretty light.
“The state legislature is the top of the ticket this time,” said Micah Rasmussen, Director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. “We don’t have the Governor running. We don’t have federal office holders running, so it’s relatively low interest.”
Rasmussen said that in New Jersey’s 40 legislative districts, only about five races are considered hotly contested. He’s estimating a statewide turnout of around seven or eight percent of registered voters.
“It’s going to be the lowest turnout of any of the four years of our election cycle,” said Rasmussen. “I’m expecting about a half a million voters. 250,000 of them voted in advance of Election Day, whether by mail or in person. So that means we’re left with about another 250 [thousand] that’ll come out on Election Day.”
But there are no elections for one group.
“Today is a very important day for us,” said Ron Augustin, deputy executive director of Newark-based social justice group Project Ready.
The group works to help communities build more engaged voter bases, informing community members basic civics and policies that impact local schools.
“We’ve been canvassing throughout Newark and we want to encourage everyone to vote in their local primaries,” said Augustin.
“The most successful turnout operations are the ones that get their voters into the routine and into the habit year in and year out,” said Rasmussen. “Just get used to voting. That’s what they’re trying to build there.”